This week, unexpected, out-of-town visitors caused a delay with the timely posting of Freedom Friday.
Even though late posting, I timely completed Week 3 of the 8-Week Mindfulness and Meditation Program, developed by Vidyamala Burch and Danny Penman and presented in the book, “You Are Not Your Pain.”
I have been on a challenging journey these past three weeks. Some days, I felt like saying, “Give up, you’re never going to get through this.” Then the inner voice evolved and reminded me to focus on the journey and not the destination.
Week Three: The Journey Continues
In addition to the readings, we were assigned to do:
- Ten minutes of the Body Scan meditation for six of seven days.
- Ten minutes of the Mindful Movement meditation for six of seven days.
- Daily Pacing Diaries.
- Daily Habit Releasers, Watch a Kettle Boil.
Body Scan Meditation
Following and being aware of the breath as it flows through my body is a new learning experience. Daily, I see improvement performing this meditation, which guides me to:
- lie on my back with hands lightly resting on the stomach;
- feel the rise and fall of the stomach which, for me, is where the awareness of the breath is strongest; and
- become more aware of the breath as it moves through other areas of my body and I am beginning to notice the breath more in my back and extremities.
I feel relaxed and the mind is free from the clutter of random thought when practicing this meditation.
It is becoming easier to welcome pain, even emotional and mental, in a loving and compassionate way.
Awareness is guiding me toward understanding that pain, as presented in:
- Week One, is “not solid, but fluid,” and
- Week Two is “like the clouds constantly changing and moving.”
Mindful Movement Meditation
Struggling through this meditation for seven days; I wasn’t able to do the simple mindful movements, with any sense of awareness, of either the wrist rotations, finger flicks, or warm hugs.
There wasn’t any physical pain. But, mentally and emotionally, I shut down and, when guided to breathe and relax, I held the breath and shut down.
As a long-time chronic pain sufferer, there have been times that I:
- refused a hug when offered by a friend or loved one;
- tensed the fingers awaiting the tools of the manicurist; or
- tightened the body, in anticipation, of the massage therapist’s hands.
I did all of this in fear that another’s touch might exacerbate my physical pain.
I plan to repeat the Mindful Movement Meditation until I am able to overcome whatever is preventing me from fully engaging in this practice.
This assignment required keeping a, daily, diary of all activities. As a retiree, a typical day for me:
- 4:30 – 4:45 a.m. – Wake Up
- 4:45 – 5:15 a.m – Stretching
- 5:15 – 6:15 a.m. – Meditation/Mindfulness/Stillness
- 6:15 – 7:00 a.m. – Light Breakfast
- 7:00 – 8:15 a.m. – Neighborhood Walk or Exercise at Gym
- 8:15 – 12:00 noon. – Errands, Household Chores, Work at Desk, etc.
- 12:00 – 2:00 p.m. – Lunch, Read, Relax
- 2:15 – 4:45 p..m – Work at Desk and Prepare Dinner
- 5:00 – 5:30 p.m. – Jog/Walk in the Pool
- 6:00 – 7:00 – Dinner and Kitchen Cleanup
- 7:15 – 8:30 – Prepare for Bed, Relax, Read, or Watch TV
- 8:30 p.m. – Sleep
From time to time, the activities change and fluctuate, but rarely do I deviate from my:
- Wake Up Time
- Sleep Time
- Morning Stretches
- Neighborhood Walk or Exercise at Gym
- Jog/Walk in the Pool
Pacing my activities, is a self-management tool that I have used to manage my chronic pain condition for more than twenty years. And, I feel comfortable with what I am doing in this area.
The assignment was to Watch A Kettle Boil at least one time per day. I own a bright orange kettle, which I call a teakettle, and it’s used to enhance the decor of my kitchen rather than to boil water for tea, coffee, or cocoa. I use the microwave for tea and the Keurig Coffeemaker for coffee and cocoa.
Willing to give it a try, I tried to mindfully:
- observe the water flow from the tap into the teakettle;
- imagine how the water reached me; and
- listen to the water boil in the teakettle.
After six full days of going through this process. I wasn’t able to relate. But, I am open to giving it another try in hopes of enhancing my awareness of movement and thoughts as I carry out routine daily functions.
I will be back posting Week 4 of this journey on Friday, July 31. Thanks to the imanikingblog for hosting Freedom Friday.